Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Who is watching and why it matters how we talk about homosexuality

A couple of years ago I was engaged in a discussion on gay rights on Michelle Willis's board.  The subject was the Jc Penney ads featuring lesbian mothers.  It was argument I engaged in with passion.  I supported, as I have since 1984, the rights of homosexuals to live a genuine life.  I was up against the pious and self-righteous Mormons on Michelle's board.  Trite arguments were volleyed back and forth.  I knew there was no way to "win" the argument with these people but I was still up for the fight.  In the middle of the whole mess I got a private message.  It was one of Michelle's friends who had been watching the debate.  The messages was a "thank you for the support".  'I thought Michelle was my friend.  I can see that she is not.' Was the tone.  While Michelle lost a friend that day, that person knew there was an ally who was willing to stand up.

Last Friday, a federal judge struck a fatal blow to Utah's amendment 3.  The Facebook feed blew up.  I have engaged in as many conversations as I could on those feeds.  Some might even call me a troll because I engage even when I am not invited


Because people are watching that is why.  I was reminded of this when I read a friends beautiful and eloquent response to his mother who was asking if his support for gay rights would change it it were his own child.  He of course said no... and that people are watching.  People in pain who are trying to find someone to talk to.

So when you are fighting equality in your Facebook feed who are you helping?

Are you standing up for your god?

Does he really need you to stand up to him?

Are you standing up for your church?

Are you on the church's legal team?  Do they really need you.

Are you standing up for freedom and the constitution?

Are you a constitutional attorney... and don't you see the hypocrisy?

Who are you hurting?

You are likely hurting someone who isn't vocal.  Someone who is sitting in the dark crying because they feel like there is something wrong with them.  Someone who may be your child, sibling, maybe even your own parent.  What they are is a human being who needs support, love and acceptance.  They didn't ask for this and to ask them to deny who they are is harmful.  To characterize their being as a "sin", as a "choice" as a "lifestyle" or one that is "not to be acted on" inflicts an undue amount of pain.

The LGBT community inside of Mormonism has one of the highest suicide rates.  The LGBT community in the United States has a suicide rate that exceeds the national average.   It is time we stop treating them like they are throw aways.

I am a supporter of equality.  I support the choices consenting adults make out of love. I support teaching our children how to develop healthy fulfilling intimate relationships with whomever they love.  It is not about sin.  It is about humans.

Conversely, I do not support bigotry and on this blog I will identify bigots by first and last name.  The world should know who you are.  Those who are watching should know who is not safe.


  1. I chose to no longer remain silent about 2 years ago when I realized my silence was enabling the pain. Before then, I sat on the fence between following my religious leaders and following what in my heart and mind seemed right... in the end, I chose to do what I felt was right.

    (I tried commenting earlier... not sure it went through as it was on my iPad.)

    1. Chris in the early days of Facebook, I was a lone voice. At first I timidly expressed what I thought and who I was. I eventually became bolder in my expression. I was accused of saying awful things when I was only defending the truth.

      What I found, is there were many who were watching. Some found a voice to stand up because they know knew they weren't the only one. Others thanked me for standing up for them.

      When I start to get tired I am reminded of those who I have met along the way. Those that I might have made a difference to and those who have made a difference to me.

      I met you along that journey and I am glad you stand up and are willing to be counted.

  2. I love you Kevin. I think you are one of the greatest allies I have ever seen. I rarely join in but I love how you unabashedly ask the questions on your Facebook feed. I loved the one you posted the other day where asked the Mormons on friendlist if they had asked their church leadership for change.

    Thank you for what you do, what you say, and the example that you are. I am glad to have you as a friend.

  3. Kiley, I watched your journey and saw you grow through the pain. You have been an inspiration to me. I am so thrilled to see you happy.

    There is much truth to the idea that prejudice melts away with familiarity. It starts by seeing others as people first and not the narrow categories we attempt to stuff them into. I owe my friend Anne Suddaby for opening my eyes when I was a young man.

    I am glad you see me as a friend. I feel the same about you and I love you too.

  4. Kevin,
    I just found your blog today and have read a few of your articles. I've only been in SLC for 2.5 years and I've been slowly acclimating to the subculture here from the other areas of the country I've lived in. I too stand up for unjust alienation of people when I can. I'll admit I don't always have the energy but I do as often as I can. Another group that I feel passionate about are my Muslim friends who I frequently see attacked with bigotry and uninformed stereotypes based on the belief that all Muslims are terrorists and wish to ruin the US. I often fear that in a few generations our children/grandchildren will be embarrassed of how we acted as a culture in a similar manner that we look back on black racism (not gone but significantly improved); how we treated Japanese and German Americans in the World Wars; Irish Catholics; Native Americans; and so on. It's sad that generation after generation we repeat the same hateful treatment, only redirected to a new group of people. I fail to understand why people can't be more accepting of each other.